Fox News Anchor Shep Smith Calls ‘Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day’ “National Day of Intolerance”
Fox News anchor Shepard Smith took what can only be interpreted as a swipe at fast-food chain Chick-fil-A and the company’s supporters over Wednesday’s nationwide “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.”
On his hard news program, “Studio B with Shepard Smith,” the anchor delivered a short but sharp attack on “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day,” the brainchild of former Arkansas governor and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.
As “Studio B” cut to commercial, Smith noted that it was “National Badminton Day.”
“It’s National Badminton Day,” he quipped. “Let’s forget National Day of Intolerance. Let’s just stay with badminton.”
Although Smith did not mention “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” or Huckabee by name, it was clear what he was referring to.
This is the second time Smith has voiced indirect support for marriage equality while on-air at Fox News. After President Barack Obama endorsed gay marriage in May, Smith looked straight into the camera and said that the president was “now in the 21st century.” Smith is the lone voice of semi-support for LGBT rights at Fox News.
“Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” was an affirmation of support for the company and its president, Dan Cathy, in the face of widespread national outrage over Cathy’s opposition to marriage equality and support for organizations designated anti-gay hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Chick-fil-A has donated millions of dollars to these groups, including $1.7 million in 2009 alone.
Some of the hate groups funded with Chick-fil-A customer cash include Focus on the Family, which says homosexuals are “after our children,” and the Family Research Council, which has falsely linked male homosexuality with pedophilia and advocates criminal prosecution of gays.
Some of these hate groups are active overseas, sending missionaries abroad to promote homophobia and to lobby for legislation criminalizing homosexuality. They have inspired proposed legislation in Uganda– a notoriously homophobic nation– that would have made gay sex punishable by death.
The fact that Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy supports such groups led LGBT advocates across the US to call for a boycott of the chain. Mayors in cities such as Boston, Chicago and San Francisco publicly expressed their disapproval of the company, leading to Huckabee’s counter-call for a national show of support for Chick-fil-A and the “Christian values” it espouses.
Leading conservative politicians including former Alaska Governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin and 2012 Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum joined in with high-profile visits to Chick-fil-A.
“Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day” was a massive success, with the company reporting “record-setting” sales on Wednesday.
Supporters of marriage equality are planning “kiss-in” protests outside many Chick-fil-A locations on Friday.
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